If watching award shows isn’t your cup of tea, we’ve compiled a list of books to read instead! Our round-up includes this year’s Academy Award nominees and past year’s winners that are based on books. You might be surprised how many award-nominated movies have their roots in literature. Take a look at our recommendations of some of the best book to movie adaptations below, complete with publishers’ descriptions.
2018 Academy Award Nominees
Darkest Hour by Anthony McCarten
From the acclaimed novelist and screenwriter of The Theory of Everything comes a revelatory look at the period immediately following Winston Churchill’s ascendancy to Prime Minister — soon to be a major motion picture starring Gary Oldman.
“He was speaking to the nation, the world, and indeed to history…”
May, 1940. Britain is at war. The horrors of blitzkrieg have seen one western European democracy after another fall in rapid succession to Nazi boot and shell. Invasion seems mere hours away.
Just days after becoming Prime Minister, Winston Churchill must deal with this horror — as well as a skeptical King, a party plotting against him, and an unprepared public. Pen in hand and typist-secretary at the ready, how could he change the mood and shore up the will of a nervous people?
In this gripping day-by-day, often hour-by-hour account of how an often uncertain Churchill turned Britain around, the celebrated Bafta-winning writer Anthony McCarten exposes sides of the great man never seen before. He reveals how he practiced and re-wrote his key speeches, from ‘Blood, toil, tears and sweat’ to ‘We shall fight on the beaches’; his consideration of a peace treaty with Nazi Germany, and his underappreciated role in the Dunkirk evacuation; and, above all, how 25 days helped make one man an icon.
Using new archive material, McCarten reveals the crucial behind-the-scenes moments that changed the course of history. It’s a scarier — and more human — story than has ever been told.
”McCarten’s pulse-pounding narrative transports the reader to those springtime weeks in 1940 when the fate of the world rested on the shoulders of Winston Churchill. A true story thrillingly told. Thoroughly researched and compulsively readable.”–Michael F. Bishop, Executive Director of the International Churchill Society
Nominations for Best Picture and Actor in a Leading Role: Darkest Hour
Call Me by Your Name by André Aciman
Andre Aciman’s Call Me by Your Name is the story of a sudden and powerful romance that blossoms between an adolescent boy and a summer guest at his parents’ cliffside mansion on the Italian Riviera. Each is unprepared for the consequences of their attraction, when, during the restless summer weeks, unrelenting currents of obsession, fascination, and desire intensify their passion and test the charged ground between them. Recklessly, the two verge toward the one thing both fear they may never truly find again: total intimacy. It is an instant classic and one of the great love stories of our time.
Nominations for Best Picture, Actor in a Leading Role, and Adapted Screenplay: Call Me by Your Name
Mudbound by Hillary Jordan
In Jordan’s prize-winning debut, prejudice takes many forms, both subtle and brutal. It is 1946, and city-bred Laura McAllan is trying to raise her children on her husband’s Mississippi Delta farm — a place she finds foreign and frightening. In the midst of the family’s struggles, two young men return from the war to work the land. Jamie McAllan, Laura’s brother-in-law, is everything her husband is not — charming, handsome, and haunted by his memories of combat. Ronsel Jackson, eldest son of the black sharecroppers who live on the McAllan farm, has come home with the shine of a war hero. But no matter his bravery in defense of his country, he is still considered less than a man in the Jim Crow South. It is the unlikely friendship of these brothers-in-arms that drives this powerful novel to its inexorable conclusion.
The men and women of each family relate their versions of events and we are drawn into their lives as they become players in a tragedy on the grandest scale. As Kingsolver says of Hillary Jordan, “Her characters walked straight out of 1940s Mississippi and into the part of my brain where sympathy and anger and love reside, leaving my heart racing. They are with me still.”
Nominations for Actress in a Supporting Role and Adapted Screenplay: Mudbound
The Disaster Artist by Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell
From the actor who somehow lived through it all, a “sharply detailed… funny book about a cinematic comedy of errors” (The New York Times): the making of the cult film phenomenon The Room.
In 2003, an independent film called The Room — starring and written, produced, and directed by a mysteriously wealthy social misfit named Tommy Wiseau — made its disastrous debut in Los Angeles. Described by one reviewer as “like getting stabbed in the head,” the $6 million film earned a grand total of $1,800 at the box office and closed after two weeks. Years later, it’s an international cult phenomenon, whose legions of fans attend screenings featuring costumes, audience rituals, merchandising, and thousands of plastic spoons.
Hailed by The Huffington Post as “possibly the most important piece of literature ever printed,” The Disaster Artist is the hilarious, behind-the-scenes story of a deliciously awful cinematic phenomenon as well as the story of an odd and inspiring Hollywood friendship. Actor Greg Sestero, Tommy’s costar and longtime best friend, recounts the film’s bizarre journey to infamy, unraveling mysteries for fans (like, who is Steven? And what’s with that hospital on Guerrero Street?) — as well as the most important question: how the hell did a movie this awful ever get made? But more than just a riotously funny story about cinematic hubris, “The Disaster Artist is one of the most honest books about friendship I’ve read in years” (Los Angeles Times).
Nomination for Adapted Screenplay: The Disaster Artist
Molly’s Game by Molly Bloom
Now a major motion picture, written and directed by Aaron Sorkin and starring Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, and Michael Cera–the true story of “Hollywood’s poker princess” who gambled everything, won big, then lost it all.
Molly Bloom reveals how she built one of the most exclusive, high-stakes underground poker games in the world — an insider’s story of excess and danger, glamour and greed.
In the late 2000s, Molly Bloom, a twentysomething petite brunette from Loveland Colorado, ran the highest stakes, most exclusive poker game Hollywood had ever seen–she was its mistress, its lion tamer, its agent, and its oxygen. Everyone wanted in, few were invited to play.
Hundreds of millions of dollars were won and lost at her table. Molly’s game became the game for those in the know — celebrities, business moguls, and millionaires. Molly staged her games in palatial suites with beautiful views and exquisite amenities. She flew privately, dined at exclusive restaurants, hobnobbed with the heads of Hollywood studios, was courted by handsome leading men, and was privy to the world’s most delicious gossip, until it all came crashing down around her.
Molly’s Game is a behind the scenes look at Molly’s game, the life she created, the life she lost, and what she learned in the process.
Nomination for Adapted Screenplay: Molly’s Game
All the Money in the World by John Pearson
Oil tycoon J. Paul Getty created the greatest fortune in America – and came close to destroying his own family in the process. Of his four sons who reached manhood, only one survived relatively unscathed. One killed himself, one became a drug-addicted recluse and the third had to bear the stigma all his life of being disinherited in childhood.
The unhappiness continued into the next generation, with the name Getty, as one journalist put it, ‘becoming synonymous for family dysfunction’. Getty’s once favourite grandson John Paul Getty III was kidnapped by the Italian mafia who cut off his ear to raise a ransom and, after a lifetime of drink and drugs, became a paraplegic. His granddaughter Aileen has AIDS. And the Getty family itself has been torn apart by litigation over their poisoned inheritance.
But did the disaster have to happen? John Pearson, who has specialized in biographies of families as varied as the Churchills, the British Royal Family, the Devonshires and the Krays, sets out to find the answer. The result, first published in 1995, is a fascinating saga of an extraordinary dynasty.
He traces much of the trouble to the bizarre character of the avaricious, sex-obsessed billionaire, J. Paul Getty himself – and demonstrates how much of his behaviour has been repeated in succeeding generations. He describes the famous kidnapping of his grandson in graphic detail, revealing how the old man’s attitude added considerably to the boy’s sufferings. And he shows how the family has coped with the latest modern scourges: drugs and AIDS.
For All the Money in the World is not a hopeless story. While some of the family have been damaged by the Getty legacy, others have saved themselves from disaster, most notably the cricket-loving philanthropist, J. Paul Getty Jr. Pearson’s moving story of his recovery from drugs and deep personal tragedy shows that there is hope for future generations of this stricken family – and demonstrates that money can be used to buy survival and even happiness.
Nomination for Actor in a Supporting Role: All The Money in the World
The Boss Baby by Marla Frazee
From the moment the baby arrived, it was obvious that he was the boss…
The boss baby is used to getting his way — drinks made to order 24/7, his private jet plane, and meetings around the clock. But when his demands aren’t getting proper responses, he has to go to new lengths to achieve the attention he deserves.
Two-time Caldecott Honor medalist Marla Frazee combines her signature wit and style with endearing illustrations in this clever take on one family’s very unusual new arrival.
Nomination for Animated Feature Film: The Boss Baby
The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
All the other bulls run, jump, and butt their heads together in fights. Ferdinand, on the other hand, would rather sit and smell the flowers. So what will happen when Ferdinand is picked for the bullfights in Madrid?
The Story of Ferdinand has inspired, enchanted, and provoked readers ever since it was first published in 1936 for its message of nonviolence and pacifism. In WWII times, Adolf Hitler ordered the book burned in Nazi Germany, while Joseph Stalin, the leader of the Soviet Union, granted it privileged status as the only non-communist children’s book allowed in Poland.
The preeminent leader of Indian nationalism and civil rights, Mahatma Gandhi — whose nonviolent and pacifistic practices went on to inspire Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. — even called it his favorite book.
The story was adapted by Walt Disney into a short animated film entitled Ferdinand the Bull in 1938. Ferdinand the Bull won the 1938 Academy Award for Best Short Subject (Cartoons).
Nomination for Animated Feature Film: Ferdinand
The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis
The first book in Deborah Ellis’s riveting Breadwinner series is an award-winning novel about loyalty, survival, families and friendship under extraordinary circumstances during the Taliban’s rule in Afghanistan.
Eleven-year-old Parvana lives with her family in one room of a bombed-out apartment building in Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital city. Parvana’s father — a history teacher until his school was bombed and his health destroyed — works from a blanket on the ground in the marketplace, reading letters for people who cannot read or write. One day, he is arrested for the crime of having a foreign education, and the family is left without someone who can earn money or even shop for food.
As conditions for the family grow desperate, only one solution emerges. Forbidden to earn money as a girl, Parvana must transform herself into a boy, and become the breadwinner.
The fifteenth anniversary edition includes a special foreword by Deborah Ellis as well as a new map, an updated author’s note and a glossary to provide young readers with background and context. All royalties from the sale of this book will go to Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan. Parvana’s Fund supports education projects for Afghan women and children.
Nomination for Animated Feature Film: The Breadwinner
Previous Academy Award Winners
Fences by August Wilson
From legendary playwright August Wilson, the powerful, stunning dramatic work that won him critical acclaim, including the Tony Award for Best Play and the Pulitzer Prize.
Troy Maxson is a strong man, a hard man. He has had to be to survive. Troy Maxson has gone through life in an America where to be proud and black is to face pressures that could crush a man, body and soul. But the 1950s are yielding to the new spirit of liberation in the 1960s, a spirit that is changing the world Troy Maxson has learned to deal with the only way he can, a spirit that is making him a stranger, angry and afraid, in a world he never knew and to a wife and son he understands less and less.
2017 Winner for Actress in a Supporting Role: Fences
In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue by Tarell Alvin McCraney
In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue is an unpublished semi-autobiographical play written by Tarell Alvin McCraney for a drama school project. He went on to co-write the script for the movie Moonlight.
2017 Winner for Best Picture and Adapted Screenplay: Moonlight
The Revenant by Michael Punke
The novel that inspired the epic new movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy.
Hugh Glass isn’t afraid to die. He’s done it once already.
Rocky Mountains, 1823.
The trappers of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company live a brutal frontier life. Hugh Glass is one of the most respected men in the company, an experienced frontiersman and an expert tracker. But when a scouting mission puts Glass face-to-face with a grizzly bear, he is viciously mauled and not expected to survive. Two men from the company are ordered to remain with him until his inevitable death. But, fearing an imminent attack, they abandon Glass, stripping him of his prized rifle and hatchet.
As Glass watches the men flee, he is driven to survive by one all-consuming desire: revenge. With shocking grit and determination, he sets out on a three-thousand-mile journey across the harsh American frontier, to seek revenge on the men who betrayed him.
The Revenant is a remarkable tale of obsession and the lengths that one man will go to for retribution.
2016 Winner for Actor in a Leading Role: The Revenant
Room by Emma Donoghue
To five-year-old-Jack, Room is the world…. It’s where he was born, it’s where he and his Ma eat and sleep and play and learn. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.
Room is home to Jack, but to Ma it’s the prison where she has been held for seven years. Through her fierce love for her son, she has created a life for him in this eleven-by-eleven-foot space. But with Jack’s curiosity building alongside her own desperation, she knows that Room cannot contain either much longer.
Room is a tale at once shocking, riveting, exhilarating — a story of unconquerable love in harrowing circumstances, and of the diamond-hard bond between a mother and her child.
2016 Winner for Actress in a Leading Role: Room
The Danish Girl by David Ebershoff
Loosely inspired by a true story, this tender portrait of marriage asks: What do you do when the person you love has to change? It starts with a question, a simple favor asked by a wife of her husband while both are painting in their studio, setting off a transformation neither can anticipate. Uniting fact and fiction into an original romantic vision, The Danish Girl eloquently portrays the unique intimacy that defines every marriage and the remarkable story of Lili Elbe, a pioneer in transgender history, and the woman torn between loyalty to her marriage and her own ambitions and desires. The Danish Girl’s lush prose and generous emotional insight make it, after the last page is turned, a deeply moving first novel about one of the most passionate and unusual love stories of the 20th century.
2016 Winner for Actress in a Supporting Role: The Danish Girl
The Big Short by Michael Lewis
The real story of the crash began in bizarre feeder markets where the sun doesn’t shine and the SEC doesn’t dare, or bother, to tread: the bond and real estate derivative markets where geeks invent impenetrable securities to profit from the misery of lower- and middle-class Americans who can’t pay their debts. The smart people who understood what was or might be happening were paralyzed by hope and fear; in any case, they weren’t talking.
Michael Lewis creates a fresh, character-driven narrative brimming with indignation and dark humor, a fitting sequel to his #1 bestseller Liar’s Poker. Out of a handful of unlikely-really unlikely-heroes, Lewis fashions a story as compelling and unusual as any of his earlier bestsellers, proving yet again that he is the finest and funniest chronicler of our time.
2016 Winner for Adapted Screenplay: The Big Short
Travelling to Infinity by Jane Hawking
Professor Stephen Hawking is one of the most famous and remarkable scientists of our age and author of the scientific bestseller “A Brief History of Time”, which sold over 25 million copies across the world and will be adapted as a children’s book in the Autumn of next year. In this compelling memoir his first wife, Jane Hawking, relates the inside story of their extraordinary marriage. As Stephen’s academic renown soared, his body was collapsing under the assaults of motor neurone disease, and Jane’s candid account of trying to balance his 24-hour care with the needs of their growing family will be inspirational to anyone dealing with family illness. The inner-strength of the author, and the self-evident character and achievements of her husband, make for an incredible tale that is always presented with unflinching honesty; the author’s candor is no less evident when the marriage finally ends in a high-profile meltdown, with Stephen leaving Jane for one of his nurses, while Jane goes on to marry an old family friend. In this exceptionally open, moving and often funny memoir, Jane Hawking confronts not only the acutely complicated and painful dilemmas of her first marriage, but also the fault lines exposed in a relationship by the pervasive effects of fame and wealth. The result is a book about optimism, love and change that will resonate with readers everywhere.
2015 Winner for Actor in a Leading Role: The Theory of Everything
Still Alice by Lisa Genova
In Lisa Genova’s extraordinary New York Times bestselling novel, an accomplished professor diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease learns that her worth is comprised of more than her ability to remember.
Alice Howland is proud of the life she worked so hard to build. At 50 years old, she’s a cognitive psychology professor at Harvard and a world-renowned expert in linguistics with a successful husband and three grown children. When she becomes increasingly disoriented and forgetful, a tragic diagnosis changes her life — and her relationship with her family and the world—forever. At once beautiful and terrifying, Still Alice is a moving and vivid depiction of life with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease that is as compelling as A Beautiful Mind and as unforgettable as Ordinary People.
2015 Winner for Actress in a Leading Role: Still Alice
Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges
It is only a slight exaggeration to say that the British mathematician Alan Turing (1912-1954) saved the Allies from the Nazis, invented the computer and artificial intelligence, and anticipated gay liberation by decades–all before his suicide at age forty-one. This New York Times–bestselling biography of the founder of computer science, with a new preface by the author that addresses Turing’s royal pardon in 2013, is the definitive account of an extraordinary mind and life.
Capturing both the inner and outer drama of Turing’s life, Andrew Hodges tells how Turing’s revolutionary idea of 1936–the concept of a universal machine–laid the foundation for the modern computer and how Turing brought the idea to practical realization in 1945 with his electronic design. The book also tells how this work was directly related to Turing’s leading role in breaking the German Enigma ciphers during World War II, a scientific triumph that was critical to Allied victory in the Atlantic. At the same time, this is the tragic account of a man who, despite his wartime service, was eventually arrested, stripped of his security clearance, and forced to undergo a humiliating treatment program–all for trying to live honestly in a society that defined homosexuality as a crime.
The inspiration for a major motion picture starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley, Alan Turing: The Enigma is a gripping story of mathematics, computers, cryptography, and homosexual persecution.
2015 Winner for Adapted Screenplay: The Imitation Game
12 Years a Slave by Solomon Northup
12 Years a Slave is a riveting true account of a free man captured and sold into slavery in the pre–Civil War South. Solomon Northup’s narrative explores one of the darkest times in American history and captures in vivid detail the unimaginable realities of slavery.
In 1841, the educated musician Solomon Northup, a free man living in New York who is cruelly deceived by the promise of a job in Washington, is drugged, kidnapped, and sold into slavery. Once Solomon arrives in New Orleans, he is given a slave name and soon realizes that any mention of his rights as a free man is sure to bring cruel punishment or death. Denied his freedom and ripped away from his family, he spends twelve emotionally and physically gruelling years on a Louisiana cotton plantation enduring the hardships and brutalities of life as a slave. When Solomon eventually finds a sympathizing friend, a daring rescue is attempted that could either end in Solomon’s death or restore his freedom and reunite him with his family.
When Solomon Northup published this harrowing account of slavery in 1853, it immediately stirred up controversy in the national debate over slavery, helping to sway public opinion in favour of abolition. His book 12 Years a Slave remains one of the most insightful, detailed, and eloquent depictions of slavery in America. It demonstrates the extraordinary resilience of one man’s spirit in the face of extreme suffering and his incredible will to survive.
2014 Winner for Best Picture and Adapted Screenplay: 12 Years a Slave
The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
A New York Times bestseller, The Silver Linings Playbook was adapted into the Oscar-winning movie starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. It tells the riotous and poignant story of how one man regains his memory and comes to terms with the magnitude of his wife’s betrayal.
During the years he spends in a neural health facility, Pat Peoples formulates a theory about silver linings: he believes his life is a movie produced by God, his mission is to become physically fit and emotionally supportive, and his happy ending will be the return of his estranged wife, Nikki. When Pat goes to live with his parents, everything seems changed: no one will talk to him about Nikki; his old friends are saddled with families; the Philadelphia Eagles keep losing, making his father moody; and his new therapist seems to be recommending adultery as a form of therapy.
When Pat meets the tragically widowed and clinically depressed Tiffany, she offers to act as a liaison between him and his wife, if only he will give up watching football, agree to perform in this year’s Dance Away Depression competition, and promise not to tell anyone about their “contract.” All the while, Pat keeps searching for his silver lining.
In this brilliantly written debut novel, Matthew Quick takes us inside Pat’s mind, deftly showing us the world from his distorted yet endearing perspective. The result is a touching and funny story that helps us look at both depression and love in a wonderfully refreshing way.
2013 Winner for Actress in a Leading Role: Silver Linings Playbook
The Master of Disguise by Antonio J. Mendez
From the author of Argo comes an unforgettable behind-the-scenes story of espionage in action. In the first ever memoir by a top-level operative to be authorized by the CIA, Antonio J. Mendez reveals the cunning tricks and insights that helped save hundreds from deadly situations.
Adept at creating new identities for anyone, anywhere, Mendez was involved in operations all over the world, from “Wild West” adventures in East Asia to Cold War intrigue in Moscow. In 1980, he orchestrated the escape of six Americans from a hostage situation in revolutionary Tehran, Iran. This extraordinary operation inspired the movie Argo, directed by and starring Ben Affleck.
The Master of Disguise gives us a privileged look at what really happens at the highest levels of international espionage: in the field, undercover, and behind closed doors.
2013 Winner for Best Picture and Adapted Screenplay: Argo
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Aibileen is a black maid in 1962 Jackson, Mississippi, who’s always taken orders quietly, but lately she’s unable to hold her bitterness back. Her friend Minny has never held her tongue but now must somehow keep secrets about her employer that leave her speechless. White socialite Skeeter just graduated college. She’s full of ambition, but without a husband, she’s considered a failure. Together, these seemingly different women join together to write a tell-all book about work as a black maid in the South, that could forever alter their destinies and the life of a small town…
2012 Winner for Actress in a Supporting Role: The Help
The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings
Fortunes have changed for the King family, descendants of Hawaiian royalty and one of the state’s largest landowners. Matthew King’s daughters — Scottie, a feisty ten-year-old, and Alex, a 17-year-old recovering drug addict — are out of control, and their charismatic, thrill-seeking mother, Joanie, lies in a coma after a boat-racing accident. She will soon be taken off life support. As Matt gathers his wife’s friends and family to say their final goodbyes, a difficult situation is made worse by the sudden discovery that there’s one person who hasn’t been told: the man with whom Joanie had been having an affair. Forced to examine what they owe not only to the living but to the dead, Matt, Scottie, and Alex take to the road to find Joanie’s lover, on a memorable journey that leads to unforeseen humor, growth, and profound revelations.
2012 Winner for Adapted Screenplay: The Descendants
The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich
Best friends Eduardo Saverin and Mark Zuckerberg had spent many lonely nights looking for a way to stand out among Harvard University’s elite, competitive, and accomplished student body. Then, in 2003, Zuckerberg hacked into Harvard’s computers, crashed the campus network, almost got himself expelled, and was inspired to create Facebook, the social networking site that has since revolutionized communication around the world.
With Saverin’s funding their tiny start-up went from dorm room to Silicon Valley. But conflicting ideas about Facebook’s future transformed the friends into enemies. Soon, the undergraduate exuberance that marked their collaboration turned into out-and-out warfare as it fell prey to the adult world of venture capitalists, big money, and lawyers.
2011 Winner for Adapted Screenplay: The Social Network
Crazy Heart by Thomas Cobb
At the age of 57, Bad Blake is on his last legs. His weight, his ticker, his liver, even his pick-up truck are all giving him trouble. A renowned songwriter and “picker” who hasn’t recorded in five years, Bad now travels the countryside on gigs that take him mostly to motels and bowling alleys. Enter Ms. Right. Can Bad stop living the life of a country-western song and tie a rope around his crazy heart?
2010 Winner for Actor in a Leading Role: Crazy Heart
The Blind Side by Michael Lewis
When we first meet him, Michael Oher is one of thirteen children by a mother addicted to crack; he does not know his real name, his father, his birthday, or how to read and write. He takes up football, and school, after a rich, white, Evangelical family plucks him from the streets. Then two great forces alter Oher: the family’s love and the evolution of professional football into a game where the quarterback must be protected at any cost. Our protagonist becomes the priceless package of size, speed, and agility necessary to guard the quarterback’s greatest vulnerability, his blind side.
2010 Winner for Actress in a Leading Role: The Blind Side
Push by Sapphire
An electrifying first novel that shocks by its language, its circumstances, and its brutal honesty, Push recounts a young black street-girl’s horrendous and redemptive journey through a Harlem inferno. For Precious Jones, 16 and pregnant with her father’s child, miraculous hope appears and the world begins to open up for her when a courageous, determined teacher bullies, cajoles, and inspires her to learn to read, to define her own feelings and set them down in a diary.
2010 Winner for Adapted Screenplay: Precious
Which of these books have you read? Share in the comments!